The heat is on

Flogas is one of Ireland’s largest suppliers of bottled gas which it markets via a nationwide network of dealers
Flogas is one of Ireland’s largest suppliers of bottled gas which it markets via a nationwide network of dealers

Ireland’s €34 million ignition category is currently growing at 11%, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the household category.

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Brand Central

12 October 2009 | 0

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At a glance: FUELS

  • Over 70% of households have open fires and the ignition sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the household category
  • Ireland’s ignition category is currently worth €34 million, growing at 11% (AC Nielsen September 2009)
  • Zip is Ireland’s number one ignition brand (AC Nielsen September 2009)
  • It is estimated Homestead fuels account for 53% of total fuels sales within symbol groups and independent retailers
  • Homestead fuels continue to grow at 4.9% year on year. Fire logs are the largest contributor of this growth accounting for 25% of total Homestead fuel sales and growing at 17% year on year
  • Firelighter sales now account for 51% of total fuel sales in Ireland, and Homestead Firelighters continue to grow inline with the market

According to market data, over 70% of households in Ireland have open fires. This bodes well for solid fuels that concentrate on providing convenience and cleanliness, as well as possessing strong environmental credentials. Indeed, according to AC Nielsen research, the ignition category is currently worth an impressive €34 million and is growing at 11%. 

Manufacturers’ emphasis on NPD is a further testament to the category’s strong growth. Brands have expanded their everyday value ignition ranges, in order to provide an alternative to private label variants, while still giving retailers a robust margin.

Innovation has also occurred within the mobile heaters market through the introduction of developments such as secured outdoor heaters which can be controlled from inside a shop or bar. With an increasing focus on securing value within all areas of the business, a considerable advantage offered by such heaters, is that they are energy-efficient. Rather than entailing the expense of heating an entire space when it’s unnecessary to do so, these can instead spot-heat a room.

Flowing along nicely

Flogas is now the exclusive distributor for Superser mobile heaters in Ireland and the UK. The company claims the Superser brand name is the original and the best quality mobile heater on the market today. Up until now, Superser heaters were distributed through a number of companies but Flogas has now announced it has secured an exclusive distributorship with the manufacturers. 

Said Eoin O’Flynn of Flogas: “We have been promoting and selling Superser heaters for the past 30 years. This, combined with our track record in the LP gas sector and the strong Flogas dealer and appliance centre network across Ireland were critical factors in us being awarded the exclusive rights to distribute Superser heaters in Ireland and the UK.”

Over the years, Flogas has noticed that during an economic downturn, sales of Superser mobile heaters actually increase. Commenting on this trend, Tim Lodge, owner of Arro Home and Garden in Athboy, said, “Superser heaters provide the perfect solution for cost-conscious customers looking to control their heating bills. Superser mobile heaters are extremely useful as an instant, economic and portable way to ‘spot-heat’ a room quickly, as many customers find it far cheaper than turning on the central heating for an hour or two.”

Tim Lodge also found that stocking Superser heaters increased bottled gas sales. “Customers who buy a Superser heater from a particular store tend to come back to the same place to get their bottled gas refills so you benefit from repeat business,” continued Tim.

Retailers looking to stock up on Superser mobile heaters for the winter months will be now able to source them exclusively from Flogas on 041 9831041 or www.flogas.ie.

For homeowners who want instant heat that’s both stylish and useful, Flogas supplies two contemporary looking and stylish mobile heaters, the Superser Radiant and Superser Catalytic. In particular, the Superser Catalytic burns without a flame and has lower touch temperatures, making it safer and it’s fitted with easy glide castors, which allows for trouble-free moving from room to room.

Substantial savings

Another big development of interest to retailers is the recent announcement earlier this year of the Flogas move into the the commercial natural gas market nationwide. It is currently offering businesses a 15% saving on the price charged by Bord Gais Energy Supply for its natural gas. Flogas entered the natural gas market following its deregulation a few years ago and has been supplying natural gas via the existing Bord Gais Networks pipeline to over 11,000 homes in the North-East, Midlands and the West. According to Eoin O’Flynn, “Our guaranteed 15% price saving on the price currently charged by Bord Gais Energy Supply is the most competitive offer in the marketplace for business customers and this has been reflected in a large number of high-profile new customer signings, including Nature’s Best in Drogheda.”

“Very little beats a real coal fire in a home but increasingly fewer people want the hassle that comes with it, so gas fires have become a very fashionable lifestyle choice. The solution for those homeowners who are not on the natural gas grid is to have it piped in from their own back garden using stand-alone propane cylinders. Two are usually installed with an automatic changeover device so when one cylinder runs out, the customer can phone for a replacement cylinder. Flogas operates a nationwide network of distributors in strategic locations to ensure constant and speedy deliveries direct to customers, whatever the weather.

“Propane direct dealers have been reporting strong annual sales growth and many of our customers want the benefits of gas in the home for fires and cooking but are either not on the natural gas grid or don’t want to go through the hassle of changing, so find propane cylinders in a discreet corner of their back garden a very practical alternative.”

Cooking on gas is always a preferred option for professional chefs, and Flogas customer Neven Maguire of MacNean House & Bistro, Blacklion in Cavan has commented: “Many people are opting for gas to cook up tasty dishes for family and friends as it offers clean and controllable heat.”

As the population around major urban centres continues to spread into surrounding counties, so too has the growth of restaurants and other eateries all looking for gas and driving sales of propane cylinders.

Changes in eating habits and the trend towards stir-fry dishes which work best when cooked on gas has meant that many people are looking at this option either for existing or new homes.

A nationwide network of Flogas aftersales personnel are on 24-hour call for appliance repairs and maintenance. Flogas supports all its products and services and plans through innovative dealer promotions, excellent point of sale material, targeted advertising and public relations.

Calor believes its Provence Stove Living Flame is the ideal living room, kitchen and conservatory heater, providing a focal point for any room

Calor believes its Provence Stove Living Flame is the ideal living room, kitchen and conservatory heater, providing a focal point for any room

Calor-ful character

With the summer season behind us, Calor BBQs will be going into hibernation for the next six months, but the company claims there are plenty more Calor LPG appliances out there which will be burning Calor LPG over the autumn and winter period. 

As always, mobile heaters will be popular during the cold months, offering spot heating for homes and offices. Calor have a broad range of heaters available this winter, ranging from the traditional to its Provence option.

With its attractive warming living flame effect, the Provence Stove Living Flame is the ideal living room, kitchen and conservatory heater, providing a focal point for any room. Not only is the Provence stove great for consumers and their homes, it’s excellent for the environment too. Instead of turning on the central heating, customers can spot-heat just one room. Furthermore, the stylish Provence features a flame failure and oxygen depletion system cut off which shuts the product off if carbon dioxide levels in the room rise above 1.5%.

Calor gas fires continue to be a very attractive product given their energy efficiency, heat productivity and environmental friendliness. There is a huge selection of brands and models available from Calor gas fire showrooms nationwide, with everything from the traditional coal effect fire to new stylish glass-fronted fires. Gas stoves are also widely available in new modern designs. By the same token, the Calor range of cookers combines the latest technology with the very best modern design, good looks and colour options, to compliment any kitchen design.

As well as the mobile patio heaters, Calor can now offer outdoor heaters which are secured to the ground, wall or overhead. There are also different styles available, from the standard lantern effect heater to the tube and plaque wall mounted heaters, so there’s something to suit everyone’s needs. Best of all, they can be controlled from inside the bar so staff don’t have to constantly run in and out to turn on and off the heater. From simple patio areas to more elaborate beer gardens, all businesses benefit from the added comfort afforded by an outdoor heating system from Calor.

A relatively new development for Calor in terms of commercial and industrial applications, is the ‘cooling’ end of the market for Calor LP gas. Calor can now meet both heating and cooling requirements, as there are now air conditioning systems which can run on Calor. These systems, which are specifically for commercial and retail premises offer a high standard of comfort for both customers and staff, and are both cost effective and energy efficient.  

Calor’s continuous development within new and existing markets puts the company at the forefront of the cylinder gas market and reinforces the company’s commitment to supplying convenient, safe and quality products. All yellow Calor gas cylinders are fitted with the ‘Calor Guard’, a unique tamper-evident seal. This is a guarantee of a quality Calor product and is an essential part of ensuring customer safety.

Involved with all facets of modern, domestic, industrial and commercial life, Calor has built up unrivalled experience and expertise in the gas industry throughout Ireland. Very importantly, Calor benefits from a great dealer network countrywide which helps it maintain its position as one of Ireland’s leading energy suppliers.

For more information on Calor applications, call 01 450 5000 or email info@calorgas.ie.

Home comforts

Following the launch of the Homestead brand in 1986, the firelighter range quickly became a stable product within the brand’s portfolio, generating considerable sales in this category.

It is estimated that Homestead fuels account for 53% of the total fuels sales within symbol groups and independent retailers, while rivalling the two leading brands in Ireland.

Over 70% of households have open fires and the ignition sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the household category.

The Homestead fuels range consists of two SKUs of firelighters, 30s and 60s and a 1.1kg Fire log which was introduced to the range in early 2005.

Homestead fuels continue to grow at 4.9% year on year. Fire logs are largest contributor of this growth accounting for 25% of total Homestead fuel sales and growing at 17% year on year.

Firelighter sales now account for 51% of the total fuel sales in Ireland, and Homestead Firelighters continue to grow inline with the market.

In September, Homestead launched a fresh new look for its fuels range in the form of new packaging and also instroduced its New Wrapped Firelighter.

Homestead brand manager, Janice Gibney said, “The continued performance of the Homestead brand in such a competitive market is a phenomenal result and gives a true insight into the core foundation of the brand’s existence, to bring value home.”

Easy peasy

Easylift has returned to shelves once more for the forthcoming winter season. The product has been designed to take the hassle out of lifting any strapped item, and can guarantee consumers will have no more broken nails or sore fingers. Ideally suited for lifting bales of briquettes or any baled fuel, it can also be used for lifting bales of newspapers, magazines, paper etc. In fact, any item that is packaged with a strap can easily be carried using Easylift.

A green Easylift has been added to this year’s range, to compliment the existing black version. Both are made from recycled plastic.

The Easylift point of sale materials and presentation has been completely upgraded for the coming season. Now packaged in an attractive counter-top display box, containing 20 Easylifts, each Easylift comes on a hanging header card suitable for hook or strip display. Each counter-top display box has a removable perforated front and a small footprint of approx 135mm wide x 83mm deep. This box design makes Easylift ideal for counter-top display, with a height of 223mm.

Mini stick-on posters highlighting “Easylift, available in store” have also been prepared. These are suitable for door/window display and also for display on outdoor fuel bunkers.

Easylift offers extra sales and margin to retailers in the briquette/fuels category. The company therefore believes it is a key product for retailers to stock during the coming winter; it has already proven its popularity this year, winning first prize in the national inventions competition held at this year’s Tullamore show. 

Easylift is another innovative product from Galway based Hanno Plastics which previously appeared on Dragon’s Den for its Strapwinder invention. Distributed by Ark DIY Products Limited, Easylift is available now by emailing sales@arkdiyproducts.com or faxing 091-521859.

Zipping into number one

Zip, Ireland’s number one ignition brand, continues to drive category growth through innovation and exciting consumer promotions, with the €34 million category growing 11% (AC Nielsen September 2009).

Guaranteed Irish-endorsed Zip, based in Co Louth, will follow up last winter’s successful launch of Zip Energy+ firelighters with two new products this year: a powerful odourless firelighter to develop the firelighter segment and an everyday-priced firelog to offer consumers an alternative to private label firelogs, which it believes are steadily reducing retailers’ cash margins.

Now distributed by Johnson Brothers, the range will be supported by a topical on-pack promotion this winter. Zip’s ‘Burn Your Bills’ promotion offers consumers the chance to win €1,000 to put towards their winter fuel bills. Running for five months, each month there are two €1,000 prizes and 10 €100 runner up prizes.

The ‘Burn Your Bills’ packs and both new Zip products will soon arrive on shelves, and are available to order now. For further details or merchandising support, contact Alison O’Grady at Johnson Brothers on 00353 1 4081555.

Leading light

Bord Na Móna Fuels Ltd, the largest supplier of solid fuel on the Irish market, claims to lead the way in developing convenience products to meet the demands of today’s busy lifestyle. Particularly popular is Bord Na Móna’s Eco Friendly Fuels range, which includes: Premium Wood Pellets, Wood Logs, Firelighters and Eco Real Logs, all made from natural renewable resources.

The company has invested in extensive marketing activities to support its products, with well-presented merchandising units for easy display in store. As a result, the company has experienced year on year growth with its compact and easy to display solid fuel products: Firepak, Firelog and Firelighters.

Hugely popular Bord Na Móna Firelogs now claim leadership of the firelogs market in Ireland. The launch of the Firepak has meanwhile captured the convenience, real-fire market. A quick and innovative solution, consumers simply place the Firepak in the fire grate and light the pack. The brand believes both products are now seen as essential for all retailers to stock, while Peat Briquettes offer an alternative, as they are also easy and quick to light.

Besides being one of the largest suppliers of private label firelighters on the Irish market, Bord Na Móna also manufactures and sells top quality Firelighters under the Bord Na Móna brand.

Strogs blaze a trail into ignition category

Agri Bio-Fuel Ireland Ltd, a newly formed family run business, has launched an innovative new product into Ireland’s ignition category.

The North County Dublin firm which has its background in farming, has developed a new straw briquette known as Strogs. This is the first product of its kind available in the Irish market, with all the raw material needed for its construction sourced in the local areas of Garristown and Oldtown in Co Dublin, from cereal growing farmers.  

After buying in the necessary straw, the company makes the briquettes on its family farm. Hence it can proudly claim Strogs are 100% Irish made, as well as being 100% carbon neutral. Its makers believe the new enterprise “will generate local jobs and benefit the local economy at a time when green energy and energy security is vital for the Irish economy going forward into the future.”

The group has also stated that clean and cheap straw, “may become an alternative to expensive coal.” What’s more, it is easy to calculate the costs of using straw as a fuel. The company claims the cost of obtaining the same amount of energy, is, in the case of straw-firing, roughly 35% lower then in the case of coal-firing.

Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, boilers using the straw and other bio-fuels can also reach efficiency of 80-90% at a very low gas emission.

Strogs can be burned in open fireplaces, ceramic stoves, culm stoves, kitchen stoves, biomass stoves and central heating boilers (standard ones and those with automatic feeders) where manufactures recommend.

The straw briquettes offer several key advantages, including providing an environmentally friendly fuel with no sparks. Strogs are also a long burning fuel which give excellent heat. They are suitable in open fires and solid fuel appliances where recommended.

For further information, visit www.strogs.ie, email info@strogs.ie or call 01 835 5500.

 

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